Christie Pits is one of the great up and coming areas of Toronto. A diverse neighbourhood boasting a population drawn from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Traditionally a place where recent migrants would transition from their old life to their new before moving onward and upward, the neighbourhood itself has transitioned over the years, first into a more settled maturity and recently into a place where high tech professionals and real estate investors have turned their sights.
That settled maturity means that the neighbourhood is no longer just a place where people come to stay for the short term or while they wait for greater opportunities to open up in other areas. It has become a destination in and of itself. Certainly, the presence of the subway and its proximity to downtown Toronto has helped with this process but the people themselves have also had a hand in reclaiming the area. Community involvement has been instrumental in reducing crime and restoring a sense of beauty and liveability to the area and everyone has benefitted as a result.
Christie Pits features a variety of recreational activities from baseball in the spring, summer and fall to ice skating and sledding in the winter. There are copious green spaces where kids can stretch their legs and it’s common to see young mothers with their children busying themselves in one of the local playgrounds. There is also copious street parking in Christie Pits although driving into the city centre from the neighbourhood during peak hours M-F can be challenging to say the least.
Who Lives in Christie Pits?
The Christie Pits neighbourhood is 4 square kilometres in size and sports a population of some 34,500. Of those residents 13% are young children, another 13% are adolescents and teens and 12% are seniors. There is a large ethnic minority population comprising nearly 40% of the total community and the average family income is just over $60,000. Renters are actually outnumbered by home owners here, unlike a place like nearby Homes for sale Seaton village and Davenport And more than 60% of adults in Christie Pits have some form of higher education; one of the highest rates in the GTA.
Who’s Next Door? A good chance your neighbour is of Asian or European descent. Upwardly motivated, well-educated and is likely a member of a multi-income family.
Things we Love About Christie Pits: Amazing restaurants. Liveable scale. A short hop to downtown via subway. Lots of things to do, green spaces to enjoy and the folks next door say “hi.”
Things we Don’t Love So Much: The area still has a few rough edges, although it would be a mistake to classify it as unsafe. It’s just a bit threadbare here and there.
Because Christie Pits is home to many young families the neighbourhood schools tend to be well supported and staffed, with lots of local involvement. Local schools include:
- Hawthorne II Alternative School
- Saint Raymond Catholic School
- Essex Junior and Senior Public School
Like most Toronto neighbourhoods, Christie Pits is served by the subway system and a variety of bus routes.
- Subway – Christie Pits is served by the Christie and Ossington stops on the subway which makes it especially appealing to those who work in the city centre and are tired of long commutes in from the suburbs.
- Bus – There are several bus lines that serve Ossington Avenue and various others that serve Christie Street on the eastern border of the neighbourhood.
- Driving – If you feel a need to commute into the city by car you’re going to encounter challenges no matter which route you choose. That said, Bloor Street is likely your best bet (at least for now).
Without a doubt, Christie Pits park is the major recreation area of the neighbourhood. Featuring a large well-kept baseball diamond, skating rink, the Alex Duff Memorial Pool(s), a soccer field and large open spaces for picnicking and simple relaxing. It is considered one of the best green spaces in the GTA. The park – also known as Willowvale Park – is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs Inter-County Baseball team.
Christie Street itself is named for William Mellis Christie, co-founder of the Christie & Brown Cookie Company, which was established in 1861. By the late 1800s the area’s association with the Christie name had become strong, so when the sand pits opened at the end of Christie Street they too took the name. Later still, the neighbourhood took its name from these pits.
Gravel, sand and clay were all harvested from the pits and used in the building of many of the GTA’s earliest roads and civic buildings. In time, resource depletion forced closure of the pits and after a dormant period the former pits were filled in and converted to the green space we know and love today: a shining testament to the power of intelligent urban regeneration.
- The Christie Pits area is served by the Bloorcourt Village Shopping District which features a vast array of shops both for casual shoppers and those looking for more high-end products. Every year in June the merchants of Bloorcourt host a festival that features bands, clowns, magicians and more.
- There are also two different shopping malls in the area. The Dufferin Mall about 1km west of Christie Pits Park and the Galleria Mall, also approximately 1km west of Christie Pits.
- Many locals swear by the produce at Fiesta Farms grocery store on Christie Street. The store features local produce, fresh flowers, gardening supplies and more and is a Christie Pits institution of sorts.
Places to Eat
There is a plethora of culinary delights to take advantage of along Bloor Street in Christie Pits including:
- La Bella Managua Nicaraguan foods
- Banjara Indian Restaurant
- Madras Masala Southern Indian cuisine
- Jang Won Korean Restaurant
- Tacos El Asador Mexican Fare
- Pho Rex Vietnamese and Thai Foods
- Apiecalypse Now Vegan Pizzeria
Real Estate in Christie Pits
Investors are betting heavily on Christie Pits and for good reason. Sitting as it does on a main subway line, the area is in an ideal position to attract those who work in the bustling downtown area just a few minutes away and indeed many former suburbanites have decided to make the switch, trading in their 1 hour (or more) driving commute from the far reaches for the much simpler and faster subway commute from Christie Pits.
Another thing that bodes well for the real estate agent market here is that the market in several of the adjoining areas is reaching the point of saturation. Home buyers in search of some of the few remaining bargains in the GTA then are migrating to Christie Pits while prices are still relatively low.
The fact that the area also sports a relatively low density compared to other areas of Toronto (due to the presence of so many detached and semi-detached houses) means that many of the new buyers attracted to Christie Pits are young couples and families.
Most of the housing stock in the neighbourhood dates to the early 1900s (although that is changing as new condo developments eye the area). The detached and semi-detached homes are moderately sized and were designed for the average working class families who made up the majority of residents here prior to WWII. These homes still regularly come on the market and are snapped up by first time buyers looking to set down roots near the city centre. Many of these homes also sport private garages meaning many of the streets are clear of parked cars, which helps contribute to the area’s air of liveability.
If there’s a warning to post about property in the area it’s that, because many of the homes here are a century or more old, you need to pay special attention to the state of their foundations. A thorough inspection before purchasing is always a good idea.
Christie Pits has come a long way from its days as the supplier of sand and gravel for Toronto’s budding road system. Today it is a vibrant, exciting community on the rise; home to numerous ethnic groups who each bring their own special ingredients to the multicultural stew that is this part of Toronto. The neighbourhood has finally transcended its reputation as a transitional area and is now increasingly settled. This settled nature has brought with it a slew of restaurants, cafes and shopping opportunities that simply didn’t exist even a generation ago.
The tree lined streets of this neighbourhood are testament to its calm nature, which is in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city centre, visible when looking east down Bloor Street. The diverse makeup of the area is attractive to many of today’s more socially aware homebuyers and the average price of a detached or semi-detached home in the neighbourhood has risen accordingly. If you’re an investor or simply someone looking for an opportunity to get in on one of the last urban real estate deals in North America you should consider Christie Pits.